Mark Taylor
Johnson County Commissioner Jim Allen, 2nd District, wants Gov. Sam Brownback to take ownership of the state’s failed motor vehicle computer registration upgrade.
Allen said during the commission’s July 5 meeting that Johnson County deserves better service for the amount of sales tax revenue it generates for the state.
“I am extremely frustrated with this, and frankly I think it is time to take it to another level and get the governor of Kansas involved in this,” Allen said. “He has had a free ride on this fiasco, and there are things within his power that he could do to waive fees.”
Allen said he was especially upset that new car sales are on the upswing at dealerships, but the titling process is crawling at a snail’s pace.
He said Johnson County sales taxes generate “tens of millions” for the state.
Commissioners were told last week that the failed computer registration system upgrade has so far cost Johnson County $29,830 in overtime expenses.
That is in addition to the $800,000 in spending commissioners approved for new employees to handle the additional workload since the new system went live in May.
The state’s vehicle registration system was switched over from a 30-year-old mainframe to a real time processing system.
However, the new $40 million system has resulted in long service delays, and customers have been cut off at mid-day because of capacity problems.
Tom Franzen, county treasurer, said the difference between the old system and the new system is that previously, motor vehicle offices stored data on their own servers during the day and then transferred it to Topeka after doors closed.
Now each piece of data is sent to Topeka directly.
State officials have said the delay problems could last as long as a year.
Last week, Michael Ashcraft, 5th District commissioner, said he believed the registration situation could get worse if not addressed soon.
He hinted at a wish to return to the old computer system.
“The longer we wait, I would be fearful that the infrastructure that supported the previous system will be deconstructed,” Ashcraft said.
The new system crashed at least twice last week in Johnson County.
The shutdown also affected motor vehicle registration offices statewide.
The Kansas Department of Revenue issued a press release the same day asking police to extend a  grace period for drivers with tags expiring on June 30.